Monica Lewinsky Scandal

Monica Lewinsky Scandal

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Updated May 09, 2014 at 12:53AM EDT by Brad.

Added May 08, 2014 at 01:55PM EDT by Don.

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Overview

Monica Lewinsky Scandal was a political sex scandal that emerged from an extramarital affair between United States President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The news of the scandal was first reported on by the news aggregation website Drudge Report in January 1998, which marked the first time that an online news publication provided exclusive coverage of breaking news before any other newspaper and the print media.

Background

In 1995, Lewis & Clark College graduate Monica Lewinsky was hired as an intern during Clinton’s first term as President of the United States. During the course of her internship, Lewinsky told friend Linda Tripp in several secretly-recorded telephone conversations that she had been involved in a sexual relationship with Clinton. In January 1998, Tripp gave tapes of the conversations to Independent Counsel investigator Kenneth Starr after consulting literary agent Lucianne Goldberg. On January 17th, 1998, the news site Drudge Report[1] broke that story in an article titled “Newsweek Kills Story on White House Intern,” reporting that the news magazine Newsweek had refused to run a story about a sexual affair between Clinton and a young White House intern. On January 21st, 1998, The Washington Post[2] was the first mainstream news media outlet to report on the story.




Notable Developments

Clinton’s Denial

On January 26th, 1998, Clinton famously denied the accusations at the end of a White House press conference (shown below).



“Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech. And I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.”

On the following day, Clinton’s wife Hillary was interviewed on the Today Show by host Matt Laeuer and claimed that the allegations against her husband were part of a “vast right-wing conspiracy” (shown below).



Clinton’s Admission

After receiving transactional immunity in exchange for grand jury testimony regarding her relationship with Clinton, Lewinsky gave Starr investigators a blue dress stained with Clinton’s semen to provide DNA evidence of their encounter. On August 17th, Clinton admitted to having an “improper physical relationship” with Lewinsky during a taped grand jury testimony. That evening, Clinton admitted to the relationship in a nationally televised address to the American people (shown below).



Starr Report

On September 11th, 1998, Starr’s report[3] on Clinton was released to the public online, which alleged that Clinton denied several meetings with Lewinsky and a conversation with adviser Vernon Jordan under oath and that Clinton obstructed justice by witness tampering and delaying testimony for seven months. CNN[4] reported that hits to the website hosting their copy of the report peaked at an estimated 340,000 per minute, America Online saw a 30% increase in overall traffic and the Associated Press website was hit with 20 times as many visitors.

Impeachment

On December 19th, 1998, the United States House of Representatives impeached Clinton on one charge of perjury and one charge of obstruction of justice. On January 7th, 1999, the Senate trial began and concluded on February 12th with both charges defeated.

Impact

On February 1st, 1999, a biography of Lewinsky titled Monica’s Story by writer Andrew Morton was released, for which Lewinsky received $500,000. On March 3rd, Lewinsky was interviewed on the ABC television news program 20/20 by host Barbara Walters (shown below, left). ABC subsequently announced that the interview received 70 million viewers, breaking the show’s previous records. In 2000, Lewinsky began starring in commercials for the weight loss and nutrition company Jenny Craig (shown below, right).



Inappropriate Timing Bill Clinton

Inappropriate Timing Bill Clinton is an image macro series featuring a photograph of an enthusiastic-looking former United States President Bill Clinton walking into the White House Briefing Room to join President Barack Obama. The macros are typically captioned with lewd punchlines in reference to the Lewinsky scandal.



Vanity Fair Essay

On May 6th, 2014, Vanity Fair[5] magazine published a preview of an essay written by Lewinsky, in which she discusses the scandal and her life afterward. In the piece, Lewinsky mentions how the Internet played a role in her public “humiliation.”

“thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.”

That day, BuzzFeed[6] published several photoshopped mockups of modern-day blog headlines reporting on the Lewinsky scandal if it had happened today (shown below).



Also on May 6th, Redditor woodcomedy posted an Inappropriate Timing Clinton image macro to /r/AdviceAnimals,[14] joking about Lewinsky performing oral sex (shown below).



In the coming days, several news sites reported on the essay, including Salon,[12] The Daily Beast,[13]CNN,[7] Us Weekly,[8]NPR,[9] The Washington Post[10] and NY Mag.[11] The full essay is set for release on May 8th on Vanity Fair’s

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